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1964 Canon


DonRocks
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Ever had a bad streak of young and/or uninteresting wines that make you question your passion? Well, mine ended tonight with the 64 Canon. I almost never open older Bordeaux alone because I can't bear not to share it with others, but tonight was the culmination of a long day, so I said screw it. And you know what? I almost never regret it when I do this. This stuff is awesome. Fully mature with no harsh tannins, but will last another 5-10 years easily. A classic, textbook example of what a mature St-Emilion smells and tastes like - lots of people here could guess this blind as a mature right-bank Bordeaux, I'm almost certain. Beautiful, inspiring, and rejuvenating. Why do I waste so much time with other things in the name of exploration? It's futile, and it ultimately comes back to kick-assed, medium-bodied wines such as this, which at least in terms of me, is what it's all about and why I purchase and cellar undervalued, well-stored older bottles when I can find them. By the way, it has been breathing in a decanter for three hours and is fresh as a daisy. Also, it stood up for almost two months. The still-wet cork crumbled, but standing these things up for weeks or months is key to them being clean. Micro-fine sediment takes forever to drop to the bottom of the bottle. People underestimate the importance of this in a major way.

Cheers,

Rocks

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"So, Mr. Rockwell, I hope you brought some for EVERYONE in the class?" :lol:

What a rewarding experience, Don. Kinda restores your faith in wine collecting, doesn't it? That sort of thing always reminds me why I got into this in the first place.

The oldest bottle that I ever opened for myself was a 1965 Beaulieu Vineyards "George de latour" Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It was on the occasion of my 25th birthday in 1990. I'd sent away for that bottle from K&L wines in San Francisco, and had it overnighted to me the month before. I stood that bottle up for two solid weeks in an old bar refridgerator that I'd set to its warmest setting (55 degrees) and on my birthday I decanted it to within an inch from the bottom of the bottle. I poured out the rest into another glass and it looked like 30 weight motor oil, but it smelled like heaven.

That bottling, which was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon back in those days, was sublime. A great Cabernet from a very good California Cabernet vintage and a testamony to winemaker André Tchelistcheff. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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I tasted '66 Canon last week and must say that it was the best '66 of ANYTHING that I've ever had. Mature, ripe and ready. '64 Figeac is supposed to be the most magical wine that estate ever produced. Rocks, got some?

PS I drove by Chateau Canon 2 weeks ago when I was in St. Emilion and it is a beautiful estate.

Edited by Mark Slater
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Don, (Joe, or Mark),

You say whenever you find one that has been well stored and undervalued you will purchase it. How do you know it has been well stored? I look up bottles and find them at auctions, but how can you be semi-condfident that you are getting a good bottle? Even if you are able to travel around and visit the merchants, what do you look for besides a reputable name?

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Don, (Joe, or Mark),

You say whenever you find one that has been well stored and undervalued you will purchase it. How do you know it has been well stored? I look up bottles and find them at auctions, but how can you be semi-condfident that you are getting a good bottle? Even if you are able to travel around and visit the merchants, what do you look for besides a reputable name?

I know that at auctions, old Bordeaux bottles are valued by numerous criteria including but not limited to the following:

The condition of the label.

The precise fill of the bottle (low shoulder, high shoulder, etc...)

The condition of the foil.

If the seller can provide an original bill of sale, or even some proof that the wine was stored in ideal conditions, that helps determine the value too.

In the instance of my '65 B.V. Private Reserve, I know K&L's reputation for purchasing old cellars, and being that they are in San Francisco (i.e. only an hour or so south of where the wine originally came from) I surmised that the bottle had probably never left California and wouldn't have been purchased by K&L unless they were satisfied that it was worth selling. It's a gamble, to be sure, but I was lucky that my gamble paid off.

At my store, we simply don't have the facility for properly storing and aging bottles properly. It's just a matter of space and our needs and focus.

If you want to see a truly lovely little cellar in a wine shop, I encourage you to visit Mr. Mike Tilch at Silesia Liquors, near Ft. Washington, MD. What they have in their temperature-controlled facility is wonderful put it pales next to what Mike keeps at his own home. Mike has even been known to refuse to sell certain bottles because "they're not ready yet" :lol: He's a great guy and worthy of everyone's patronage.

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I know that at auctions, old Bordeaux bottles are valued by numerous criteria including but not limited to the following:

The condition of the label.

The precise fill of the bottle (low shoulder, high shoulder, etc...)

The condition of the foil.

If the seller can provide an original bill of sale, or even some proof that the wine was stored in ideal conditions, that helps determine the value too.

And even all of that does not guarantee anything. I recently was at a dinner where a Jeroboam of 1986 Romanee Conti Grands Echezeaux was opened. The bottle, label, and foil were immaculate, the fill was perfect, and it purchased from one of the most renowned wine stores in New York. Since purchase, the bottle had been impeccably stored. However, the bottle was Madeirized, and undrinkable.
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